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Sit-down VS Stan-up sewing table?

Sit-down VS Stan-up sewing table?

Old 01-10-2016, 08:33 AM
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Default Sit-down VS Stan-up sewing table?

I ended up hurting my low-back, neck, and some shoulder pain a few years ago, now an going medical, chronic pain thing, lol......

My question, what works for yall, sitting or standing when sewing?

Either way I go, the sewing machine will need to be at an angle to keep my neck in a more neutral posture, the same with my shoulders, and keeping my arms at close to a 45 as I can get. I already sit on a stability-exercise ball when Im sitting, to force proper back posture, and to reduce the pressure points off my lower back. Ill also need to have to be able to rest my arms as straight to my truck as posible, most likely just a cutout in the table top for my trunk to squeezz into


Last edited by ErgoTiger; 01-10-2016 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 01-10-2016, 08:36 AM
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I sit on a rolling chair so I can roll back to iron (ironing board lowered) and roll over to rotary cut (lower table so it's not difficult to bear down). I have arthritis and shoulder issues and my set-up doesn't strain my issues.
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Old 01-10-2016, 09:39 AM
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I sit to sew. It's impossible for me to be in a balanced (neutral) position while standing and using the speed pedal. I used the OHSA guidelines to help set up my sewing & cutting stations -- I am 5'11" so I needed to raise up my cutting table on blocks because it was way too low for me. For sewing, I use a hardcover book with a roll of masking tape under it to put it at an angle so my left foot is at the same angle as my right (on the speed pedal).

In addition, I had a friend help me build this DIY sewing table so that I could have my machine flush with the table & as far to the right as I could get it. He also drilled a 3/4" hole in the front apron for my knee lift to fit through.

Finally, I am currently building a suspension arm to help carry some of the weight of my quilt while I FMQ because even with a Slider, my neck still gets sore from having to move so much weight while quilting. And for my birthday I have asked for a used Steelcase Leap chair because I used to have one of those when I worked in a corporate office setting & it was so super comfortable for my legs, back & arms. Everything adjusted to the perfect height.

It's been a lot of work to try to get everything to where I can tolerate sewing for more than 5 minutes at a time, but I'm so happy to see the improvements. I, too, have severe pain in my low back, neck & shoulders. When it gets bad, it will radiate down my right arm & right leg. I've had more than a dozen surgeries & have made peace with the fact that I will be in pain for the rest of my life, but I refuse to give up my beloved quilting. It makes me so happy to make beautiful quilts; it's just a matter of finding what works. I tried the balance balls for a while, but found that while they were helpful for tailbone pain & low back pain, they didn't provide enough support for me (and I can only share my own personal experience based on my health issues) for my mid-back, neck & arms. In addition, because of my height, I couldn't find a balance ball that was high enough to maintain a 90 degree angle for my hips and knees so I usually would end up with more pain in those areas.

Since this is such a personal decision, I would really recommend you consult with your doctor & just try out different options. The one thing I would strongly recommend if you do go with a standing sewing station is an anti-fatigue mat. If you don't also have foot problems, typically going barefoot (or stocking feet or those five finger shoes) helps back pain. I used to work barefoot in my sewing studio & can say it really did help.
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Old 01-10-2016, 09:45 AM
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Have a physical therapist show you the arrangement you need for your body while sewing, cutting and pressing.
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Old 01-10-2016, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by ErgoTiger View Post
My question, what works for yall, sitting or standing when sewing?
We all have different needs, old injuries, body types, etc. I have a friend who stands while sewing. I think she has some kind of setup where her foot pedal is somewhere other than the floor, but I can't remember what she's done with it. I know that I could never stand for long periods of time because I have plantar fasciitis and my feet can't handle it - I HAVE to sit and rest.

I think what works for one person won't work for another, and the easiest way to find out what works best for you is to simply try it. Onebyone has a great suggestion - check with a physical therapist.
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Old 01-10-2016, 11:23 AM
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I sit when I cut and sew. I did stand up once when quilt a t-shirt quilt. It was an interesting experience but it made quilting the heavy quilt easier.
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Old 01-10-2016, 12:26 PM
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I have a sit down machine. It has a flat table that the machine sits in. I do end up bending my back a lot when using it. I think a stand up version might be best. If you go to a large quilt show, they have machines set up for people to try.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Bree123 View Post
If you don't also have foot problems, typically going barefoot (or stocking feet or those five finger shoes) helps back pain. I used to work barefoot in my sewing studio & can say it really did help.
I would not go barefoot in my sewing studio. If you should drop your rotary cutter, you could lose a toe! And have you ever stepped on a pin? If you're diabetic, it's really important to wear shoes!
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Old 01-12-2016, 06:51 AM
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I am barefoot in my home (and therefore sewing room) pretty much 100% of the time. All toes still intact, and I never step on pins because if I drop one I don't leave the room until I find it! I have 3 dogs and 2 cats and would hate to have one of them find and possibly eat a pin, so I just don't leave any. I have a stick with a powerful magnet at the end that makes it really easy to find any dropped pins.

I have tried sewing standing up and it didn't go well for me. I don't like using the start/stop button on my machine, I REALLY prefer the pedal and I couldn't find a good way to stand and also use the pedal comfortably. The best I found was to control it with my heel and keep my toes on the ground, but that eventually gave me cramps in my calf. If you have the start/stop button on your machine and are used to using it, I think sewing standing up would be a lot easier, but for me it didn't work out.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:29 AM
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I personally don't think I could sew standing up. I prefer to sew with no shoes, using both feet to "grab" the pedal and big toes pushing down. I laugh at myself just thinking about the way I sew, but it works for me! I know lots of people cringe about being barefoot, but I NEVER put the rotary cutter down without retracting the blade. I have back issues too, so sometimes I have to take breaks and do something else...usually laundry or cooking. I have my chair set lower than most people so I don't have to lean over to see up close when I sew. I also sit close to the machine, with my belly against the table, sewing machine set down into table. I hope you find an arrangement that works for you.
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